Hot air and winds could drive mercury to record levels
Victoria will bake in near record-breaking heat on Thursday, with Melbourne reaching 38 degrees and with an uncomfortably warm night set to follow.
In the state's north, Mildura is expected to reach 44, Swan Hill 43 and Horsham, in Victoria's west, 42.
"We're going to go close to record temperatures in parts of the state," said senior forecaster Dean Stewart. "The highest-ever temperature for Mildura is 45 for November and we're forecasting 44 so we don't have to be far out for it to be a record."
If conditions are right, Melbourne's maximum could exceed the forecast, said Mr Stewart.
"If the cloud cover is thin enough we could get to 40 degrees in Melbourne."
However, Melbourne would have to exceed 40.9 degrees, set in 1894, for it to break a record. The city also reached 40 in November on two other occasions – 40.7 in 1911 and 40.3 in 1997.
The hot spell is due to the usual suspects – a warm inland and northerly winds.
"There's been a pool of hot air building up over inland Australia for the last couple of weeks. Some of it has already pushed down into northern Victoria," said Mr Stewart, who said parts of the state's north would reach 40 degrees Wednesday. Melbourne's forecast top today, by contrast, is 27.
"With northerly winds expected on Thursday, ahead of a low-pressure trough coming in from the west, the northerly winds will push that hot air further south to affect southern Victoria."
Unfortunately, Victorians will also endure an uncomfortably warm Thursday night, with a cool change not expected until early Friday morning.
"For a lot of the night, the temperatures could be 30 degrees or so. It will be uncomfortable," he said.
Eventually, the temperature will drop to 23 degrees by 9am Friday. Friday's forecast top for Melbourne is 26, with periods of rain.